I'm not sorry to admit that I didn't watch the State of the Union speech. I can't stand long speeches full of lies and never-to-be-kept promises. Last year's SOTU was a major disappointment, showing Obama was out of touch, so I dreaded this one.
I saved myself from an hour of distasteful labor, and figured I'd read the reviews afterward. So, what did I read:
- Andrew Sullivan said that there were too many tax deduction--(one for every color of initiative I suppose).
- A bunch of forgettable partisan stuff (which I've forgotten).
- Obama never mentioned the deficit, as though it doesn't exist.
When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference - like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet.So deficit-reduction will be accomplished by raising taxes on the wealthy. The already-agreed $200 billion per year, out of a $3+ trillion dollar budget, is all the spending cuts that Obama envisions.
A Candidate with ScissorsI'm serious about reducing the deficit. I think we have only a limited time left to do it before our debt service eats up too much of our economy. I'd like the largest part of deficit reduction (maybe 80%) to come from spending cuts. Why? To give people more money that they can control directly. To reduce waste and low priority spending.
So I start wondering if I need to support Romney to get any spending cuts. If I remember correctly, he has some fairly definite plans to drop federal employment by attrition, hiring one person for every ten who leave. I wonder about the other consequences if Romney were to be elected. There's the Supreme Court, the question on whether he would curb the crazy overreach plans of the Republicans in Congress. I think he would.
I'm beginning to think I might vote for Romney, though I'm glad the vote is a long ways off. I'll get a better measure of his intentions based on whom he chooses for VP and how he campaigns for the general election. I remember how MikeR, an occasional commenter at the Atlantic, challenged readers to support whoever would effect the most deficit reduction, even if it was Michele Bachmann. I was never going to go as far as that crazy lady, but Romney meets the sanity test, so he's a possibility. I realize some of the risks, but I'll be considering Romney if that's what it takes to reduce the federal budget in this country.
Then I remember-- Romney will maintain the Bush tax cuts. Those ridiculous 15% tax rates on capital gains and dividends will carry on, probably without a sunset next time. No matter that the deficit is as high as it is. That decides it. Obama is more serious about cutting the deficit because he'll take a scissors to those tax cuts. It's not the only fiscal change we need, but it's a major chunk of it. I'm back to supporting Obama.